- What’s your point/argument?
- What evidence do you have?
- Why do you think your evidence supports your claim?
- But how about these reservations?
- Are you entirely sure?
- How strong is your claim?
You need to ask these questions on your reader's behalf & answer them appropriately.
A Good Argument should offer:
- a claim (it states what you want readers to believe)
- evidence or grounds that support it (the reason readers should believe your claim)
- a warrant (a general principle that explains why evidence is relevant to your claim)
- qualifications that make your claim and evidence more precise.
The more your argument asks readers to change their minds, the more significant it will seem to them.
Making strong claims
A claim is significant to the extent that it changes how people believe
- a claim must be substantive (firmly constructed- important)
- a claim must be contestable (it should lead the reader to think)
- a claim must be specific/explicit
Offering reliable evidence
Kinds of Warrants
- authoritative (cite the most authoritative/current sources)
- perspicuous (clear as evidence, and readers need to see that)
- (relevant and appropriate)
- based on empirical evidence
- based on authority
- drawn from prior systems of knowledge and belief
- cultural warrants
- methodological warrants (involving inference/drawing conclusions)
- articles of Faith
1.do make a claim
2.do provide evidence or grounds to support that claim
3.do provide a warrant, or a general principle that explains why you think your evidence is relevant to your claim
4.do provide qualifications that make your claim and evidence precise and meaningful
Does the Rough Draft include
- raise objections and alternatives to your claims
- anticipate objections readers might have
- concede what you cannot refute
- stipulate limiting conditions
- limit the scope and certainty of your claim and evidence
Does the introduction include:
- An indication of why the topic chosen is interesting, important or worthy of study.
- Some background information and an attempt to place the topic in appropriate context.
- An indication of whether the topic has been narrowed to a focus of more manageable proportions.
- A clearly and precisely stated research question.
- A clear concluding statement of the thesis and argument, i.e. the response to the research question that will subsequently be developed in the body of the essay.
The essential feature of the body is a convincing answer to the research question. The structure and approach will depend on the subject in which the essay is being undertaken. Some subjects may require sub-headings for major sections within the main body. Scientific investigations will usually have separate sections for method and results. In other subjects, sub-headings should be avoided because they disrupt the flow and unity of an essay.
The requirements of a conclusion are that it
Does the conclusion follow these requirements?
- Is clearly stated
- Is relevant to the research question being investigated
- Is substantiated by the evidence presented
- Indicates issues, unresolved questions and new questions that have emerged
- from the research.
It does not serve as an introduction but presents a synopsis of the extended essay, and therefore should be written last.
The minimum requirements for an abstract are to state clearly:
*the research question being investigated
*the scope of the investigation
*the conclusion/s of the essay
It should be placed immediately after the title page.
A contents page must be placed after the abstract and all pages should be numbered.
Presentation and overall neatness are important, and it is essential that illustrative material, if included, is well set out and used effectively. Graphs, diagrams, tables and maps are effective only if they are well labelled and can be easily read. This must be directly related to the text and acknowledged where appropriate. The use of photographs and postcards is acceptable only if they are captioned and/or annotated and are used to illustrate a specific point made in the essay.
The direct or indirect use of the words of another person, written , oral or electronic, must be acknowledged appropriately as must visual material in the essay, derived from another source. Failure to do this will be viewed as plagiarism.
The bibliography or list of references should only include those works, such as books and journals, that have been consulted by you. It is good practice to study a major style of referencing appropriate to the subject of the essay so that you can present your references professionally.
Each work consulted, regardless or whether or not it has already been cited as a reference, must be listed in the bibliography.
Assessment of Senior Essays
General Assessment Criteria
These criteria are mainly concerned with the writing of the abstract and conclusion, the use of information and data, and the overall presentation.
A Research Question & Thesis
The research question (or specific issue to be investigated) is clearly and precisely stated and is sharply focused and is therefore susceptible to effective treatment within the word limit. The thesis refers back to the research question.
B Data Information
The data gathered/generated and/or background information selected is directly relevant to the research.
The data/information derived has been systematically and competently analysed using appropriate and correctly applied techniques.Where an evaluation is appropriate a range of interpretations have been considered and their merit appraised.
The discussion/argument is consistently relevant to the research question (or specific issue being investigated) and is well organised and therefore easy to follow.
The conclusion is clearly stated, is relevant to the research question and fully substantiated by the evidence presented. If appropriate, the conclusion clearly indicates unresolved questions and new questions that have emerged from the research.
Within the Abstract, the research question, the scope of the investigation and the conclusion(s) reached are all clearly stated.
G Overall Presentation
Running head- header- double space- font 12- page numbers- titles for major parts ...
H Language and mechanics
Sentence structure, grammar, spelling, coherence, cohesion, punctuation ...
Senior Essay Checklist
Judge the essay against these criteria:
- Is the essay a reasoned argument in which the writer endeavours to persuade a skeptical reader of the justifiability of the line of argument adopted?
- Is there an argument? Is each part of it clear? Is it easy to understand and does it make sense? (The argument should be clear from the beginning and not tacked on the end)
- Does the essay develop logically through a series of arguments or points?
- What evidence is used to support arguments (too little, too much, inappropriate)?
- Does the essay show evidence of the imaginative use of a variety of sources (precising one or more source is not adequate)?
- Is the essay clear and readable? (Pay attention to grammar and spelling)
- Does the essay contain repetitive or irrelevant material?
- Has a bibliography of all materials consulted been included? Does it follow the APA style?
- Are all quotations properly footnoted?
- Has a word count been included, and is the essay within limits?
- Presentation: Has the essay been word processed, allowing double space between lines and a 12-point font?
This page was adapted by Nada AbiSamra from:
Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams: The Craft of Research
Extended Essay Guidelines
S E N I O R E S S A Y Evaluation Sheet
Research Question ____________________________________________________________
Subject Advisor's name _____________________________________________________
Grade given ____________________________
Name of evaluator _____________________________
Teacher Grade: _________________________